85 Year Old Grandmother Fights Food Permit Bureaucracy

Dear Everyone;

An 85 year old grandmother battles the bureaucrats over a food permit. And as she says in the article:

Kolasinski said her tearoom and candy shop haven't sickened anyone in 20 years. After trying to comply with the county, she says she finally realized their food codes were part of an oppressive bureaucracy designed to drive legitimate businesses "to the communist countries."

Which of course raises the question as always on food permits - why are they needed? If no one got sick in 20 years at her food store - why is a permit needed? If a restaurant feeds tainted food to people they ain't gonna be in the restaurant business very long and the owners are likely to get stomped on by upset customers.

Considering food permits or lack of them have been used to shut down Food Not Bombs and other free food handouts to the homeless - food permits are as she says part of an oppressive bureaucracy. Once some Marin County teenagers chipped in a bunch of money bought the fixings and made a bunch of sandwiches - wrapped them up and started to hand them out around Civic Center Plaza to the homeless - the SFPD quashed that real quickly when the teenagers couldn't produce a food permit. DO'H!

Everyone got along real fine eating at diners and restaurants and pubs and road houses for thousands of years without any food permits needed. Then lawmakers discovered food permit fees and race was on...

In Costa Mesa they claim 12,000 food permit places get inspected. Let's do the math: 12,000 food permits places in 50 weeks ( I use 50 weeks making allowances for county bureacrats paid days off at taxpayers expense) which gives 240 food permits places to inspect each 5 day week or 48 places each day. Then making allowances for the reports which have to be written for each place inspected of say 2 hours for each days reports. This give 6 hours to inspect 48 food permit places or 8 an hour. Doesn't this make you feel safer already?

What next - food permits for each home kitchen so people won't feed tainted food to themselves and their families? The enlightened legislative bureaucrats sure missed that one. And look at all the money they are missing in collecting from each persons kitchen for the permit and the annual inspection permit. As Dr. Carl Sagan the astronomer used to say, " Billions and Billions and Billions".

It was like the battle in San Francisco over barbequed ducks hanging in Chinese food shop windows - that was verboten - but wiser minds prevailed when it was pointed out this practice had been going on for several thousand years without any fatalities. DO'H! ( yes I know what the vegans will say but for now - let it slide... :-0 )

The Storm Trooping Food Permit Nazis shall not prevail as part of an oppressive permit driven Big Brother style 1984 mental mite moronic bureaucratic munchkins. ..... :slight_smile: ( BTW: no insult intended to mites or munchkins :wink:

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian

BTW: How anal is Costa Mesa? This url is for a pdf for a home business license it costs $45.00 It sorta makes you wonder how many people have actually filled one out and filed it for the permit approval?

Store becomes battleground


Religious group battles Orange County codes for restaurants

By Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press
November 25, 2006
COSTA MESA — The latest fight over what constitutes Big Brother-style government is playing out on an unlikely battleground: a cozy tearoom and cinnamon-scented quilt-and-craft shop in this suburban Orange County town.
Three members of the Piecemakers, a small religious sect that runs the store, were convicted this week of multiple misdemeanor counts for refusing to let health inspectors into their kitchen.
The group, led by a feisty, 85-year-old, camouflage-clad matriarch, has battled the county for years over a laundry list of code violations, claiming the law of God is greater than the law of man.
"God's laws help the people; they comfort the people. These laws bind you so that you can't breathe. They have sucked the substance right out of our country," said Marie Kolasinski, a 5-foot grandmother of eight with sparkling green eyes and a penchant for profanity.
Kolasinski and the others each face up to a year in jail when they are sentenced Jan. 12. They said they will appeal based on how officials handled the case.
"Put me in jail, shoot me, do anything, but I'm going to keep fighting this kind of thing until America wakes up," said Kolasinski.
The spat between the Piecemakers and the county dates back to the early 1990s. Since then, the group has resisted health inspectors who accuse them of selling unpackaged foods like homemade sandwiches and soup without a permit.
In 2000, the Piecemakers were ordered to cease all food sales and placed on probation. Since then, undercover inspectors have observed continuing violations, according to testimony at the 2-day trial that ended Tuesday.
Last October, inspectors arrived unannounced with a court order, prompting a rowdy confrontation recorded on a 12-minute video filmed by the Piecemakers. Kolasinski and two others were arrested after wrestling with police officers and unleashing a barrage of profanity so extreme that one officer asked Kolasinski: "Do you kiss your kids with that mouth?"
Health workers testified it was the first time they had to obtain a court order for a routine inspection after nearly three decades of policing 12,000 restaurants.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Steiner, who prosecuted the case, doesn't believe the Piecemakers were resisting because of their religious beliefs. "I think the primary reason for their recalcitrance is due to the almighty dollar, much more than the Almighty," he said.
"They put one face to the public as being this innocent, gentle group and then they have a truly ugly side ? that is contemptuous of law, is disrespectful and has absolutely no regard for the preservation of public health," he said.
Steiner said he hasn't yet ruled out shutting the tearoom down in light of the convictions.
Kolasinski founded the Piecemakers in 1978, when she says God spoke directly to her — in English, not Hebrew as she expected — as she was walking by her swimming pool. The religious sect, which she describes as "born-again Christians who have finished their walk to the full Gospel," has 26 members.
Together, they run a labyrinthine craft-and-quilt store, tearoom, small candy shop, construction company, hair salon and crafts school that offers lessons in everything from doll-making to Brazilian embroidery.
They also print an annual calendar that includes quilting patterns and run a soup kitchen for the homeless.
Kolasinski presides over the entire operation, including a store that looks like a page from a Norman Rockwell catalog.
Kolasinski said her tearoom and candy shop haven't sickened anyone in 20 years. After trying to comply with the county, she says she finally realized their food codes were part of an oppressive bureaucracy designed to drive legitimate businesses "to the communist countries."